By Rhys Woosnam
The evolution of technology has brought about many advances in media production and content sharing thanks to programs and websites like YouTube, iTunes and Spotify. These creations have also ushered in a new era of internet piracy which has damaged the entertainment industry. At the click of a button anyone can download millions of songs, movies and other forms of media that are usually paid for. The boom in illegal downloads has led to many people in the entertainment industry announcing the impending death of profitable art. However, one positive in all this doom and gloom is the advantage the immediacy of the internet gives to independent artists trying to increase their profile.
Without the evolution of social media and music sharing websites, these three talented people would not have the profile they have today.
Jeremy Neale is an independent musician based in Brisbane who has utilized both social media and a number of music websites including Triple J Unearthed to his advantage. He believes that the increased social media presence of musicians allows them direct contact to the people who listen to their music, and this is very important.
“Having my songs on Triple J Unearthed meant I was eligible to be selected as the Unearthed artist to play the Brisbane leg of Laneway Festival earlier this year,” Jeremy said.
“I see a lot of artists that give their social media pages over to their label / management and I can’t understand. It’s one of the last things I could imagine giving up to somebody else to look after. It’s cool to be in direct contact with people who appreciate what you’re doing / creating.”
Jeremy does recognize the challenges of counteracting illegal downloads but he also believes that music streaming websites have the ability to create a proper working relationship with artists.
“The use of music streaming will be super commonplace across all age groups. However with any luck a new music streaming service will emerge that gives better cuts to artists.”
Karl Chandler is a Melbourne stand-up comedian who co-hosts a successful podcast called The Little Dum Dum Club and has written for a number of TV shows including Good News Week and The White Room. In previous decades, comedians were able to get spots on Rove and other variety shows but in recent years there’s been a lack of opportunities. Therefore, Karl along with many other comedians in Australia have taken to social media and podcasting to build their audience.
“As a stand-up, the only way I could previously get my name out there was to hope to get on a gig with the right people there watching, and have them decide to further my career. Social media is a shortcut. Through Twitter, Facebook and podcasting, a lot of new people can and have found content of mine, without TV or radio.”
An excerpt from the Little Dum Dum Club with special guest Glenn Robbins https://soundcloud.com/rhys-dubya/dum-dum-clip
He attributes the increased popularity in podcasts to the public’s hunger for free content and believes it has helped him to gain a more passionate and loyal fanbase.
“With the internet, you’ve got your career in your own hands, rather than waiting for some radio or TV producer to wave a magic wand and make it happen for you.”
Podcasting has experienced an unbelievable boom in the last few years with some of the biggest comedians in the world joining in on the experience including Marc Maron, Wil Anderson and Chris Hardwick. According to Jefferson Graham from technology news site CIO Today, in the last three years the number of podcasts available on iTunes has increased by 20%.
The biggest positive for comedians and other podcast enthusiasts is that they have been able to transition this free content into a monetary venture. Merchandising, exclusive audio and live recordings are all ways that podcasters have created a profitable element to this new media.
Chris Hardwick was quoted in the CIO article as saying “Our culture is so niche-oriented now, you don’t need 3 million people to listen to your podcast. If 10,000 people listen, which isn’t a hard number to achieve, then 10,000 people listen to your podcast. You can do something with that, you can build a community, and literally change the world, just recording into a recorder.”
This exemplifies how artists from all realms of entertainment can revolutionize the way they deliver content to the public whilst also being able to make a living.
Ball Park Music at Triple J’s One Night Stand
Jen Boyce is the bass guitarist in Brisbane band Ball Park Music. She loves the immediacy of social media but is also wary of the dangers of illegal downloading.
“I think piracy of all media forms is only getting worse and worse. I think it’s up to bands and artists to help consumers understand how little they already get from being a musician and how if you were to actually support your favourite band or artist, they could potentially achieve a lot more. It’s already led to record companies signing less artists each year and made it harder for musicians to make money off their music.”
Ball Park Music have achieved significant national coverage thanks to their placings on the Hottest 100 and their appearance on Triple J’s One Night Stand which was broadcast live on ABC2. However, the band still places importance on social media and other forms of media sharing as a way to build their fanbase.
“Social media is one of the key contributors to getting and keeping fans these days. If someone can simply ‘like’ your page or site and get updates from you when you post them, that’s very easy for fans to do and they don’t have to put much effort into keeping themselves updated. If they see that when they interact, the band or artist interacts back, they’re going to keep coming back and are more likely to share it with their friends or invite their friends to interact too.”
Keeping fans updated with information on gigs and new music is vital to the success of any musician and Jen continues to utilize Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to accompany her creative ventures.
“YouTube is probably the biggest helper here. There’s so many things that go ‘viral’ that would have had absolutely no place in the world before the internet evolved into this mega machine allowing you to sit in front of the computer all day without getting bored.”
In an ever-changing technological landscape, who knows what the future of content sharing will be? Artists will need to continue to find ways to make people want to pay for their works, whether that’s through a new medium like podcasting, an increased quality in their performance or just intense social media interaction. In the end, people will always be craving top notch music, comedy and film, no matter what the price and so it’s just about finding the perfect combination of technology and talent.
Interview with Karl Chandler, September 1st 2013.
Interview with Jeremy Neale, August 23rd 2013.
Interview with Jen Boyce, August 27th 2013.
Karl Chandler IMDB Profile
Graham, J. “Remember Podcasting? It’s Back and Booming” CIO Today. August 19, 2013.
Wade, A. The AU Review, 2012. “Jeremy Neale”